A Road Less (Or Not At All) Travelled

**TW: mild references to self harm.  Please proceed only if you are comfortable with the subject matter.**

I believe I’ve now reached a point in my MH journey where I can glean hope from most situations.  I guess after so many years in Therapy, CBT and compassion-focussed techniques become a sort of subconscious second nature.

I can’t pinpoint one particular trigger, but I will admit that I had a bit of a gruelling day yesterday.  There was some upheaval to my ordinary routine, a bit of confrontation, everyone seemed a bit on edge, a bit irritable.  Anyway, this morning, feeling angry, frustrated, confused, guilty, sad, and all associated synonyms, I reverted to my default coping technique and took it all out on my arm.

There was a time where this would have had a huge negative impact on my day.  I’m not going to lie and tell you that I got over it and that my day was straightforward from there, but something I did do that is different from even six months ago was give myself a break.  I attempted to get an appointment with one of the Nurses at my Drs surgery, because these are the people who treat me with compassion.  That is to say, I didn’t go to A&E, leaving myself wide open to judgement, patronisation, criticism, all the while convincing myself that to be treated this way is no less than I deserve, my injuries being self-inflicted.  As it happens, I didn’t get an appointment until tomorrow morning, but that’s ok because I’ve cleaned it as best I can and suturing is no longer favourable anyway, my arms being in the condition they are.

Further, the decision to wait until tomorrow to have things looked at wasn’t one I took alone – because something else I did differently today was talk.  I got myself to my Sister’s house, and told her what I’d done.  This wasn’t easy to do; my SH is something that close family members (understandably) don’t cope well with, and honesty hasn’t always worked for me in the past.  Today, though, there was no relatively little lecturing, but rather an acknowledgement that what was done was just that – done – and the construction of a plan of action to help keep me distracted and, ultimately, safe for the rest of the day.

Only now, as I write this, and attempt to make sense of it, do I realise that I’ve analysed it not to torture myself, but to compare it to the same sort of incident, say, a year ago.  I’ve admitted that, yes, this curveball that life has thrown me is pure, unadulterated shit, but I have a support network pretty much on tap, one that I use now more than ever.  I also deal with the aftermath in a way that really is best for me, and not one dictated by procedure or red tape.  I allow myself to grab at snippets of happiness as the day goes on, like cuddles with my Nephew, or playing with Henry, rather than deny myself all forms of pleasure as further punishment.

So, yeah, the journey has been long and arduous, and is still very much in progress, but it’s a journey nonetheless, and I’m further down the road to recovery than I’ve come before.  I’m scared, a bit like a child who only recently ditched stabilisers on his/her first bike, but I’m moving forward.

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